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Simplify your Creative Lesson Planning

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Do you find your teaching ideas come from EVERYWHERE? Instagram, blogs, podcasts, radio shows, trips to the grocery store? I hear you.

It can be hard to keep track of all the great ideas. Pretty soon you’ve got sticky notes everywhere, text messages to yourself, a desktop folder full of Facebook screenshots, saved posts a mile long on social media, and of course, that mental to-do list that fires up at 11 pm on Sunday nights when you’re trying to go to sleep!

It was with all this in mind that I created The Ed Deck this year. I wanted to find a way to keep creative ideas for class front and center during lesson planning. Because wouldn’t it be nice to have all the wonderful concepts you’ve discovered in your career right beside you as you plan out a unit or just a single class for the next day? That way you don’t end up losing sight of your innovative ideas and falling back on your standard choices.

The Ed Deck makes it easy to keep beautiful ideas beautifully present. It’s a set of lesson planning idea cards, made to be enjoyed. They look like this:


I’ve made you an editable blank set you can use free to create your own deck, and I’ve made a deck that you can buy over on TPT. I’m pretty excited about both.

Let’s talk about how you can use them in a heap of wonderful ways (and don’t worry, I’m going to tell you how to grab the free editable cards at the end!).

Keep your Ed Deck Handy for Lesson Planning

When it comes to planning, keeping your Ed deck in your top drawer, on a ring on your desk, or on a bulletin board in your office will really help. If you’re like me, you just can’t think of all the things you’ve been meaning to do when it’s late at night and you’re trying to figure out how to cover chapter three of Huck Finn in an engaging way. Or when it’s seven a.m. on Monday and your brain says “Let’s make a creative plan for the week!” and your body says “uuuuuurrrrrrghhhhhh.”

Having your lesson cards around will remind you that you just read about a great idea for a PBL unit, want to listen to more relevant podcasts with your students, or were hoping to create a Netflix-inspired final project sometime. Or that you’ve had success with silent discussions and Harkness, and you want to remember to use them more. You get the idea.

Use your Ed Deck to bring Inspiration to your Faculty


Make a colorful splash in your faculty room or department office when you put up an Ed Deck bulletin board late some afternoon when no one is around. Join in on the conversation as people begin to imagine how they could use the ideas they see in their classrooms. Or make your colleagues laugh by framing the mirrors of the faculty bathrooms in cards to help inspire new directions. Share Ed Deck cards with new faculty, student teachers, or your neighbor across the hall.

Create a Collaborative Ed Deck with your Teaching Team or Department


Join with your ninth grade team, your A.P. team, or your whole English department and discuss the strategies you’d each like to bring to the table in the upcoming months. Maybe one team member’s excited about hyperdocs, another about podcasting with students, another about blackout poetry and book talks. Let everyone make a card or two and then print sets for everyone. As you all use your cards to inspire your lesson planning, you’ll be more likely to try each other’s strategies and build more professional community and conversation around the new strategies.

Want to come back to this later? Pin it! 
However you use the Ed Deck, here are a few tips for maximum enjoyment: 
1. Print your cards on card stock. Unless you’re into laminating. Either way works! Flimsy paper does not. 
2. Cut your cards out while watching The Great British Baking Show, The Good Place, or The Crown on Netflix. (Of course, you could watch something else, just saying these are pretty fab choices!). 
3. Pop your cards into a pencil pouch, pin them to a bulletin board, or hole punch them onto a ring. Whatever works best for you. 
4. Print cards to share with your colleagues and friends, but please don’t use these editable cards to create products that you then share to the internet. Respect the time I’ve put into making and sharing this by sending friends here to get their own editable cards, pretty please. 
It’s been so nice to hear from teachers who are already using the Ed Deck since I created it last month. Comments like “I love this and love how I really can just flip through it for different ideas when I’m feeling stuck or uninspired. Thanks!” and “LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!  Cannot wait to use this when we return!  Great resource!” have been keeping me smiling. 
You can find the forty+ cards of the Ed Deck I created right here.  If you’d like to make your own Ed Deck, you can sign up for your rainbow of editable cards below.

I’d love to see how you use these editable cards! Snap a photo of the set you create and tag me when you post it to Insta (@nowsparkcreativity) so I can come and cheer.


hey there!

I'm Betsy

I’ll help you find the creative ELA strategies that will light up your classroom. Get ready for joyful teaching!







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  • Love your ideas. I have a sign that I show each student. ( A positive sign!) It is my way of recognising them in the frantic business of school life. The signing is done in silence. Eye- contact is essential. I face the student and point to my eye; this means 'I see/acknowledge/value you, then I point to my hear; this means " I care about and respect you' and then I show the student by holding up my fingers how I am feeling. It is on a four finger scale with four being excellent.
    The student then reciprocates. Children who show me that their feelings are two or one, are unobtrusively drawn aside later in the day. Many serious issues have been successfully and calmly smoothed over this way.
    The students can use the sign at any time and it forms a close bond without any spoken words.

  • What a beautiful tradition, Vanessa. It sounds so meaningful for both you and your students. Thank you for sharing it with me.

  • How do you do Vanessa.
    I was pleased so much to get such convenient and really useful tips for teaching.
    Thank you a lot!


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